Why Do Orthodontists Use X-Rays?

Many steps go into providing our patients with a proper diagnosis of their orthodontic needs. 

At Tilghman Orthodontics, one of the many resources we use is x-rays. It is a comprehensive science that provides information we cannot see with our eyes. You have likely heard of them but still wonder what they are and why orthodontists use them. Our team is here to answer your questions and provide a more thorough understanding of what x-rays have to offer.

The Role of X-Rays in Orthodontic Assessment

What They Are And Why We Use Them

A powerful diagnostic tool, x-rays refer to radiation known as electromagnetic waves that are emitted to visualize the internal workings of your teeth and jaw. They can capture bones and tissue throughout your body, but orthodontists focus on your alignment, what teeth are permanent versus baby teeth, roots and more.

Dr. Tilghman uses the findings from your x-ray to create your unique treatment plan. The insights gained from these photos help us to establish a proper timeline concerning your care and 

A Safe Procedure

You will be glad to know that x-rays are a safe procedure! It is a commonly utilized tool in medical and dental offices all over to help our team get a better understanding of the complications you need our expertise to solve. There is minimal risk involved in radiation exposure because of how short the procedure is and the safety precautions we take.

When Are They Taken

X-rays are taken a few times throughout your treatment. The initial one is during your free consultation or before your appliance is placed on your teeth. This way, we can determine how to proceed with treatment and what areas of your teeth need special attention.

Another one may be taken just before the end of your treatment to identify which teeth need extra fine-tuning to establish the ideal positioning. The last one comes around after your appliance has been removed to ensure the work done to your bones and jaw on the inside matches what we can see from the outside.

Dental Vs. Orthodontic X-Rays

There are two different kinds of x-rays taken at an orthodontic office: panoramic and cephalometric. The former is typically brought in during your free consultation, which covers a wide 2-D view of your jaws, teeth, and temporomandibular joint (or jaw joint). This helps us gain a better grip on your current development so we can use this information to create a comprehensive care plan.

The cephalometric x-ray provides us with a highly intricate view of how your upper and lower jaw interact and understand the relationship between your facial bones. With the insights of each of these tools, we can reach an ideal alignment and achieve your smile goals.

Why Do Orthodontists Use X-Rays?

How X-Rays Are Taken In Our Office

1. Prep

To begin, we ask that you remove any metal objects from your shoulders and up that could distort the image. These objects include jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, and the like. Keeping these items can scatter the x-rays and may harm the image taken, requiring a second try. We will additionally provide you with a lead apron to be placed over your head to protect you from radiation.

2. Positioning Yourself

Depending on the type of x-ray you are getting, our treatment coordinator will tell you the specific position you need to stay in for the machine to capture the correct angle of your teeth and jaw. They will ask you to remain steady until our machine is finished taking the image. 

3. Taking The Images

It is now time to capture the image! You have the easy job of staying still as our treatment coordinator programs the machine to take the correct angle. A focused beam of radiation then travels to your teeth and jaw. From start to finish, the entire procedure should take no more than a few minutes.

4. Assessing Your Results

Your x-ray is finished! You will get to see the images captured of your teeth before they are sent over to Dr. Tilghman for review. His expert eye can identify your alignment and any complications to determine what orthodontic work your teeth can benefit from. Thanks to the advancements in digital x-rays, you can count on reliable results to keep your treatment moving forward!

Creating Your Treatment Plan

Each treatment plan is unique to each patient. Dr. Tilghman uses his extensive knowledge of diagnosis and treatment planning to ensure your plan will accomplish your smile goals, and you can confidently complete care with us. X-rays are just one of the many resources we call upon. We also review your teeth for a visual examination and medical and dental history.

Looking At Your X-Ray

As mentioned, we use the findings from your x-ray to understand your dental structure, facial development, tooth alignment and any pre-existing conditions you may have. Both are essential in determining what treatment you need, if your teeth are ready for care, and the results you can expect. 

Visual Examination

When you come in for your free consultation, Dr. Tilghman and our team will provide you with a visual examination, such as sharing signs of misalignment, bite issues, as well as crowded or gapped teeth. The findings from your x-ray will back up noted concerns so you and Dr. Tilghman can understand the root of the issue. 

Reviewing Your Unique Care Plan

When it comes time to present your care plan, you can expect a thorough explanation of your orthodontic needs, how our team plans to resolve them, and how you can maintain the results long-term. We take a look at your dental and medical history so we can create an effective plan you can rely on.

Why Do Orthodontists Use X-Rays?

Orthodontic Treatment Can Change Your Life!

Thanks to the advancement of x-rays and the expertise of Dr. Tilghman, we continue to realign smiles and be a source of happiness for our patients. Whether you live in Salisbury, Berlin, or a nearby community, Tilghman Orthodontics is ready to serve you and your orthodontic needs. Give either of our offices a call so we can help you schedule your free consultation. We can’t wait to meet you!